Obituary : Mildred H. Rocker
Mildred H. (Gonsalves) Rocker died unexpectedly on October 16. She was 68 years old. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2005. Her family immediately contacted Hospice of Martha's Vineyard. Mildred started chemotherapy and radiation, but decided to discontinue. It is through prayers, love, and support of her family, and a strong determination to live, that she was able to live an independent life for the next four years.
She was the daughter of Harry W. Rocker Sr. of Chappaquiddick, and Margaret May Connors of East Providence (both deceased). She attended school in Providence till the second grade. Her family moved back to Oak Bluffs and she attended Oak Bluffs School. She was an active member of the 4H Club as a young teenager, enjoying trips, camp, and horseback riding. She was an excellent swimmer.
She met her husband, Joe, at a dance in Vineyard Haven. They moved to Aquinnah where she worked for Yvette Eastman of East Pasture. Their home in Lobsterville was a summer destination for her friends and family. In the winter of 1963, they lost everything to a house fire and bought a house in Vineyard Haven.
Mildred worked for many years in food services. She worked at many different Island restaurants: Lee's Coffee shop in Oak Bluffs, The Mansion House, The Dunes in Katama, and the Bowling Alley. She was employed with the Steamship Authority working at the lunch counter aboard the Islander for eight years. In 1986, their home on Summer Street burnt down. Mildred, once again, pulled her family back together and she and Joe built the home of their dreams. Mildred opened a day care to help her children with childcare. After the grandchildren were all in school, she worked at the Edgartown Stop & Shop in the deli department. She loved to socialize with her co-workers and customers.
Mildred was the heartbeat of her large family. Her home on Summer Street was well known for her family gatherings. She especially loved hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Her table settings, sometimes for as many as 25 people, looked like they belonged in a magazine. She decorated her home for every holiday. One Halloween she filled more than 125 individual bags of candy to hand out to all the visiting trick-or-treaters.
She loved to have family and friends over. She would open her living room up so her children and friends could come over and watch football, baseball and/or basketball games. Her grandchildren always wanted their birthday parties at Nanny's house. She enjoyed tailgate parties at Norton Point and packing picnics for Dogfish Bar. She would dig for clams and quahogs with her feet. Family vacations were action-packed. She loved to go on cruises to the Caribbean islands. She enjoyed the great food and getting dressed up. She had a green thumb. Her house was always filled with vibrant green plants.
She was a member of the VFW Women's Auxiliary Post 9261 of Oak Bluffs. She was a member of the Chappaquiddick Tribe of the Wampanoag Indian Nation. She was the granddaughter of Eunice C. Rocker, who is listed on the Earle Report dated 1861.
She was also a member of the St. Augustine's Church in Vineyard Haven.
She was a loving wife, mom, sister, aunt, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She is survived by two sisters, Shirley Delgardo of Providence and Eunice Moreis of Oak Bluffs and their children; her former husband Joseph B. Gonsalves Jr. She is survived by her daughters: Margaret Oliveira of Oak Bluffs and her husband, David, and daughter, Alicia and Lynn Larkin of Lynn and their sons, John, Phillip, and Miguel (Gonsalves) and their daughters Corey and Lindsey (Gonsalves); Yvette Turner of Oak Bluffs and her husband, Mark, and their children Sarah, Mark and Christian. She is survived by her sons, Joseph B. Gonsalves III, his wife, Rosalind, and their children, Jordan, Hannah, and Matthew; and John Gonsalves of Oak Bluffs and his children, Amanda and Ryan.
She was predeceased by her son Anthony Gonsalves. His children are Nicholas and Carly.
Her funeral will be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 11 am in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs. Burial of her cremated remains will follow in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, located on Vineyard Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be make to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard or the Benevolent Fund of the Holy Ghost Society (P.A. Club), Oak Bluffs.